As many of you know, the end of the year is a popular time for community associations to hold their annual meetings. These are not only for homeowners to get updates on their community's status (e.g., financial strength, maintenance needs and/or scheduled projects), but they also serve as a forum for electing board members.
Delinquencies are a major concern for many community associations. As annual meeting season approaches, we often get asked: can an association publish its delinquencies to the rest of the community?
In July 2016, the Georgia Court of Appeals released an opinion in Northside Bank v. Mountainbrook of Bartow County Homeowners Association, Inc., which may have significant implications for homeowners associations not submitted to the Georgia Property Owners' Association Act ("POA"). Specifically, the case involves limitations on the percentage of interest and the amount of late fees that a homeowners association may assess delinquent owners.
A New HUDache? Potential Liability for Community Associations for Discriminatory Housing Practices Under the Fair Housing Act
Beginning on October 14, 2016, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD") will be enforcing new fair housing regulations that involve claims of harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, or disability.
The board of directors for every community association has a fiduciary duty to the entire membership. This duty includes both the duty of care and the duty of loyalty. As part of the duty of loyalty to the association, directors have an obligation to disclose any transaction which presents a conflict of interest.
One of the underlying functions of any community association is to preserve its semblance of uniformity. This responsibility, which is typically set forth in an association's governing documents, is generally assigned to the board, or a board-appointed committee, such as an architectural control committee or an architectural review committee. The board or committee ensures compliance with the association's architectural/design guidelines by evaluating an owner's proposed improvement or modification to the owner's unit or lot, or even to the common elements or common areas.
The night sky may have looked a little brighter over the past year thanks to legislation that now allows for fireworks sales in the state of Georgia. The new law, which went into effect in 2015, not only legalized the sale, purchase and possession of fireworks, it also allowed for their use until midnight on most days during the year, and until two a.m. on certain holidays, such as the Fourth of July and New Year's.
One of the most common types of complaints to boards and property managers involves a lack of communication between the association and the members of the community. All too often, members feel that they have no voice in major events affecting the community , or that they are uninformed or misinformed about significant board decisions. This inevitably leads to boards and property managers getting bogged down by owners who are quite vocal about their frustrations. One way to prevent such community discord is through the promotion of more effective communication methods between the board, property management and the general membership.
With people living in close proximity to one another, it is routine for community associations to deal with complaints that can only be described as "nuisances." To help address this scenario, governing documents for many associations contain a general provision prohibiting nuisance-type activities or behavior (e.g., barking dogs, smoking or an unkempt yard). Although the nuisance provision seemingly works well as a catch-all, when it comes to actually enforcing it, most community associations will run into difficulty
In 2004, the Georgia Legislature passed the Right to Repair Act (O.C.G.A. § 8-2-35, et seq.) in an effort to reduce litigation and to promote alternative methods for resolving construction disputes. By its express terms, the Act only applies to a dwelling, which is defined as "a single-family house, duplex, or multifamily unit designed for residential use in which title to each individual residential unit is transferred to the owner under a condominium or cooperative system."